Category Archives for "Improve Your Productivity"

Introducing My First Online Course

I’m excited today to launch a new product line, Agile Attorney Learning, and the first product in that line, an online course titled Agile Productivity for Legal Professionals.

Here’s how it came to be:

I was at ABA Techshow a few weeks ago watching Jess Birken & Charity Anastasio deliver a talk about Kanban for Lawyers, which I think is great. My goal has always been to start a movement around Agile tools for legal professionals, so I love that others are spreading the gospel. Jordan Couch was in the room, who has also been teaching Kanban a fair bit lately. 

Here’s the thing: I know I taught Kanban to Jess and Jordan, and I’m pretty sure Jordan taught Charity (or maybe it was Greg McLawsen, I’m not sure).

So I was standing in the back with the amazing Aastha Madaan (also an agile attorney) and I jokingly whispered to her, “I should start a video library of other people teaching my stuff.” Her response surprised me: Continue reading

Quality Standards Prevent Mistakes

Quality standards prevent mistakes.

As a standalone sentiment it seems like a no-brainier. Lawyers strive for quality: how often have you seen lawyer marketing with claims like “We provide our clients with the highest quality legal work,” or “We do quality work at an outstanding value”?

Of course we strive for quality. It’s why people hire professionals like us, and it’s what we’re trained to do (especially when it is drilled into us by our superiors).

Why, then, do lawyers keep messing up?Continue reading

Handoffs Are Making Your Matters Late

Unless you’re a lone wolf, your project is going to have hand-offs.

Sorry, did I say “project?” I forgot for a moment that this is a legal blog. I meant “matter.” Or “case.” Or whatever else you call that “individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.”1  For consistency with the rest of the business world, let’s call it a project.Continue reading

My response to an r/lawyers question about working with staff

I occasionally browse r/lawyers on Reddit for various Legal Ops questions, and the other day I answered this one:

For the past few years, I’ve been an associate at a small 4-attorney firm, my first out of law school. No support staff beyond a receptionist and a bookkeeper, and so I’m very used to doing my own everything.

I’ll be starting at a new firm in a couple weeks, that does actually have support staff–paralegals, an office manager, I’ll actually have a legal assistant to share. The responses in that other thread have made it very clear to me that an enormous amount of the work that I’ve been doing is work typically done by support staff, and so I’m going to have to get into the habit of letting them actually do their jobs in order to do mine. I know a big part of that will be how the new firm uses their support staff, and what the staff’s strengths and weaknesses are, but if anyone’s got any tips on learning how to make this kind of transition, I’d love to hear them.

My response is below.Continue reading

Dispatch from the Agile Attorneys Slack Group

We’ve had some good conversations going on in the Agile Attorneys Worldwide Slack group lately, and I thought I’d publish a taste of what’s going on in there. If you haven’t joined yet, the signup form is here (and I’ll embed it again at the bottom of this post.)

This particular back-and-forth was between me and immigration attorney Greg McLawsen.

mclawsen: More a Lean than Agile question, but figured I’d toss it out here. We’re experimenting with a new web-only storefront for our immigration firm ( and are testing this core presumption: clients are willing to work with us in the web-only (no office) environment. We’re driving a reasonable amount of organic traffic (~140 unique/day), but folks aren’t setting up many consults and those who are haven’t converted to clients. I’m not sure if the “problem” is who is finding the site (a lot of the popular content is probably being read by people who have already filed their paperwork) or if folks are rejecting our concept. Any creative thoughts about how to tease out which it is?Continue reading

Removing Bottlenecks to Productivity and Profit

Removing Bottlenecks to Productivity and Profit

I just wrote my first article for Lawyerist, Removing Bottlenecks to Productivity and Profit. In it, I discuss the single bottleneck concept behind the Theory of Constraints (check out my earlier posts here and here). I also write about the importance of measuring a few key things within your workflow (but not too many), and then using the data you glean to not only tell whether your improvement worked within the context of the thing you were trying to improve, but, more importantly, whether that local improvement succeeded in improving your practice overall.

Check out the article, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to learn more!

Kanban in a Box Kit


I just got done presenting at the Ohio State Bar Legal Technology Conference where I tried out a new idea: Kanban in a Box. I only made a couple of prototypes and I gave them both away, but I’m working on putting a few more together and making them available on this site. In the mean time, I thought I’d post the packing list:Continue reading

For Process Improvement, Stop Starting at the Beginning

For Process Improvement Stop Starting at the Beginning


I’ve talked with several attorneys lately who have all told me a version of the same story. It goes like this:

“I don’t have time to do a bunch of process improvement work, but a few times a year something about my workflow drives me crazy and I resolve to fix the whole darn thing. So I go to my white board to sketch out the different parts of my process and get to work making them better. Starting at the beginning, I take a hard look at my client intake system and make a few changes to improve it. But it is always harder than I think it’s going to be, and by then the client work is usually piling up. So I go back to being a lawyer and never really get around to improving the other stages. Until a few months later when it starts to drive me crazy again…”

There are, of course, several problems with this approach. Continue reading

Three Steps to Improved Legal Operations

A few weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday to a small explosion on my Twitter feed (when you write on an arcane topic like legal operations, small explosions seem significant). Turns out Joshua Lenon from Clio was presenting at the LegalLean conference in Toronto, where he was liberally and admittedly teaching from this very blog*. His presentation is great, and you can watch it below.

#LegalLean at MaRS: Joshua Lenon – Unlocking Value in the Traditional Legal Industry from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

Stealing back from Joshua, I really like one of the things he talks about at the end pertaining to legal process/project management and I want to try to expand on it a little.Continue reading